Located in St. Lucie, Martin and extreme northern Palm Beach counties, Jensen Beach to Jupiter Inlet Aquatic Preserve is 37 miles long and encompasses 23,000 acres. Despite its official name, the aquatic preserve extends from the southern corporate limits of Fort Pierce south to Jupiter Inlet, including the Peck Lake and Hobe Sound area. Stuart is the only incorporated city bordering the aquatic preserve. Unincorporated cities include Jensen Beach, Hobe Sound and Tequesta. The aquatic preserve is accessible from the east by U.S. Highway A1A and from the west by Indian River Drive or U.S. Highway 1. Despite the length of the aquatic preserve, the number of parks and boat ramps that provide direct public access to the aquatic preserve is limited.
The Indian River Lagoon Aquatic Preserves are a proud partner of the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics and were selected as a 2017 & 2018 Leave No Trace Hot Spot. To learn more about Leave No Trace in the Indian River Lagoon contact Emily Dark at Emily.Dark@dep.state.fl.us or 772-429-2995.
Volunteering at Indian River Lagoon Aquatic Preserves
The Indian River Lagoon Aquatic Preserves provide a variety of volunteer opportunities from projects in ecosystem science, restoration and spoil island activities. Volunteers help with activities such as wildlife monitoring, annual seagrass monitoring or microplastic sampling. The Shoreline Restoration Project enables volunteers to get involved in shoreline stabilization through native plantings. On spoil islands, volunteers take a hand in improving visitor access through activities such as invasive plant removal, installing picnic tables, fire rings or human waste bag dispensers. For more information, please contact our office at IRLAP@dep.state.fl.us or call 772-429-2995.
For other opportunities to help preserve the Indian River Lagoon and surrounding Aquatic Preserves, consider joining the Friends of the Spoil Islands.
St. Lucie Inlet State Park is easily accessed by boat, and its quiet beaches are great for swimming, sunbathing, picnicking and surf fishing. Marinas, boat ramps and local parks also offer access to the aquatic preserve.
Indian River Lagoon is also part of the Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail. Jensen Beach to Jupiter Inlet Aquatic Preserve spans two segments of the paddling trail (segments 19 and 20: Palm Beach/Loxahatchee and Hobe Sound/Fort Pierce).
The Florida Department of State's Division of Historical Resources Master Site File indicates there are scores of historical sites adjacent to the Indian River Lagoon Aquatic Preserves (IRLAP) System. Archaeological sites date from 10,000 B.C. to 1700 A.D. and include Spanish Fleet Survivors and Salvors Camp, Jungle Trail and Mount Elizabeth. Historical sites include architectural, military, social, transportation, commerce and conservation sites. Many of the aboriginal shell mounds along the IRLAP System were destroyed for roadfill for U.S. highways 1 and A1A, and other highways and train beds.
December 29, 2020 - 10:49am
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The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the state’s lead agency for environmental management and stewardship – protecting our air, water and land. The vision of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is to create strong community partnerships, safeguard Florida’s natural resources and enhance its ecosystems.